Melissa Cooke (b. Oconomowoc, WI, 1982) received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Specializing in graphite on paper, her work investigates the relationship between photography, performance and drawing in portraiture. Cooke is represented by Koplin Del Rio in Seattle, Washington. Her drawings have been exhibited at venues nationwide, including the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the Oceanside Museum of Contemporary Art, The Baker Museum, Yellowstone Art Museum, The Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, The Museum of Wisconsin Art, The National Arts Club, and numerous galleries and colleges. Cooke’s drawings are in collections such as the Arkansas Art Center, the Minnesota Museum of American Art, the Howard Tullman Collection, and the Minnesota Vikings U.S. Bank Stadium Art Collection and have been featured in New American Painting, Fine Art Connoisseur, Hi-Fructose, Drawing Magazine, and The Huffington Post. Cooke lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Cooke's drawings are made by dusting thin layers of graphite onto paper with a dry brush. The softness of the graphite provides a smooth surface that can be augmented by erasing in details and textures. No pencils are used in the work, allowing the surface to glow without the shine of heavy pencil marks. Illusion dissolves into brush work and the honesty of the material.
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